By Dr. G. Venkataraman
One day in late May
this year when I was in Brindavan, someone told me that there were
a couple of people from Iraq. Immediately I became alert. I have
seen devotees from Iran regularly, and also from Turkey
occasionally. Some years ago, I even saw a group from Egypt. But
from Iraq, and that too at the present time? Naturally I was very
keen to meet these persons. I contacted a few persons in the
Brindavan Ashram, and a couple of days after that around noon
time, an elderly looking gentleman accompanied by a lady in a
black dress came to the Guest House where I was staying. The
conversation started. Soon I was at the edge of my seat.
The gentleman told
me that his name was Gen. Yassin Dawood Suleiman. He was from
Baghdad, yes Baghdad. He was once the Director of Baghdad Police
but resigned from his job in 1977 when he was asked to do
something that went against his Conscience. Soon after that he
left the country, went first to Turkey and then to Bulgaria. He
switched to business and prospered. After the fall of Saddam
Hussein he came back to Iraq. He was happy to be back in his
country but not at all happy with what was going on, particularly
the violence. The Americans, it seems,
asked Gen. Yassin to take over once again as the Director of
Baghdad Police but he refused, saying he was not prepared to serve
under occupation forces. Meanwhile, with each passing day he
became more and more troubled by the violence, which showed no
signs of declining but only increasing.
And then, about two
months ago, in the midst of his constant prayers to Allah for the
restoration of Peace in his troubled land, Gen. Yassin felt he was
getting some kind of a call from Inside. It was not very clear but
some Inner Force was urging him on to do something and go
somewhere; but he just could not make out what it was all about;
just that he kept on feeling this Inner Urge. Shortly after that
he felt he was being told “to go and see a holy man”. A holy man,
but where? Some days later he felt that he must go to India in
order to see this “holy man.”
Gen. Yassin then
told his wife Ameera Ali that they both were going to India.
“I don’t quite know, but I feel I must go to India.”
“But we don’t know anyone there.”
“May be, but I think the holy man is there.”
“Which holy man?”
“I don’t know!”
mean we should go to India without knowing where and meet someone
we don’t know who?”
“May be it sounds like that to you but I strongly feel we must go.
Things will work out.”
lady agreed to accompany her husband on a truly unknown voyage.
Gen Yassin told me that Baghdad airport is closed to civilian
traffic and therefore he and his wife had to come to India via the
land route – first up to the border between Iraq and Iran, then
cross over to Iran, then travel through Iran, then cross over into
Pakistan through the border in Baluchistan, travel through
Pakistan and then cross over to India. The couple travelled by
bus, taxi, and train; all the time the General was sure he would
reach his unknown destination while his wife was accompanying him
not with any deep faith in this mysterious pilgrimage but out of
love and concern for her husband.
It appears that from
Pakistan they came to India by bus and landed in Amritsar. In
Amritsar someone told him that he must go South. So the Iraqi
couple took another bus and landed in Delhi. Someone guided them
to the Railway Station. So he landed in the Delhi Railway Station.
He now had to buy tickets but where to? He asked for a holy place
to go to. Looks like someone then told him to buy tickets to
Dharmavaram. When I talked to him, Gen. Yassin could not quite
pronounce the name Dharmavaram. He was struggling with the word
but was sure it started with D. He then said, “You know the girl
at the ticketing counter said, ‘Why do you want to buy a ticket to
Dharmavaram? I shall give you tickets for a train that goes direct
to Puttaparthi!’ I said, OK. That is how I landed in Puttaparthi
Railway Station. And when I got out I saw Baba’s picture.
Immediately my Heart jumped for I knew
this was whom I wanted to see!”
So from the station
the couple came to the Ashram but were disappointed to hear that
Swami was not there; He was away in Whitefield? Now where was
that? Meanwhile he decided he would worry about that later; he was
happy he knew whom he was seeking. He told me that he went to the
Ashram and prayed. He added that he was quite used to praying in
Churches during his exile. In Delhi, he visited a Buddhist temple
and prayed there.
By the way, it took
Yassin only TWENTY FOUR DAYS to reach Puttaparthi from Baghdad!
Twenty four days, can you believe that?! Amazing is it not? What
faith! To complete the story, Yassin met a German devotee in the
Ashram, an old hand apparently, and hearing this remarkable tale
from Yassin, he said, “Listen, I am going to Whitefield tomorrow.
You can come with me.”
And thus it was that
Yassin and his wife finally landed in Brindavan. By Swami’s Grace,
they were accommodated in the Ashram, and when I met him, he had
already been there for several days. And how happy he was! His
eyes were shining and his voice was full of joy. And while he was
speaking to me, his wife was often praying. He was constantly
telling me about how wonderful it was to see BABA SWAMI, as he
referred to our beloved Swami. The General was constantly telling
me that Baba should save his people and bring peace to his
conflict-torn land. He was really feeling for his people.
By sheer luck, we
managed to video tape the entire conversation. In a recent
broadcast over Radio Sai, we played the audio part. I hope you
were able to listen to the story as he told me. I cannot obviously
show you the video here but you can see video stills of my meeting
with this gentleman who was led by a ‘Hidden Hand’. That is God
and that is His Attractive Power or
Aakarshana Shakti, as Swami refers to it.
Quietly he performs
His wonders, while most of us try to excel each other in
trivializing Him in incredible ways! Should we do that? By the
way, let me tell you that this is not an isolated incident. Let me
conclude by narrating an incident about which I heard from Mr.
Tajmool Hussein of Trinidad.
One day some years
ago, a rich man in Trinidad [of African descent] was driving very
fast in his Mercedes. It was not just fast driving but absolutely
rash driving. He wanted to crash and die! Obviously, serious
problems. Just then he heard a voice saying, “Come to Prashanti.”
The man was startled, and slowed down slightly. He was all alone
in the car and yet he heard a clear voice speaking to him. Even as
he was wondering, he heard the voice giving the same message a
second and then a third time. The man now stopped and pondered.
There sure was something in what he heard. He did not quite know
what the message meant but he decided then and there that suicide
Prashanti !! Now
what on earth was that and where was it? He didn’t know of course,
but the One who was pulling him, would He leave a loose end like
that? As is to be expected, when this man began to make enquiries,
one thing led to another – he met some Sai devotees, heard about
Prashanti Nilayam and Swami. So there really was a Prashanti
Nilayam. And there was someone there calling him. So he came to
Prashanti, saw Swami, and not only had His Darshan, but even got
Those of you who
listen to our broadcasts would recall an interview in which Mr.
V.Srinivasan describes how he was guided by Swami to go to a
country in the Far East and stop a suicide there, a suicide about
which Mr. Srinivasan knew nothing about!
Swami has saved so
many from self destruction in this manner. It is just amazing how
He calls people to himself just at the right time. The question is
how many of us respond to it and redeem ourselves.
Jai Sai Ram.
E-Magazine, 1st July 2004